How to avoid overspending on holidays

How’s she bootin’er?

We know its not even remotely holiday, (nor are we even half-way through 2020) but today, we want to open your eyes to the ugly truth about overspending on holiday shopping – and how you can avoid carrying holiday debt well into the next year (and sometimes even next year…)

When we say “holiday”, it’s mostly Church Bells ringing in your head.

What do holidays remind you of? Personally, it reminds me of pretty little LED fairy lights, Poutine, drinks (them ice wine maannnn) and turkeys. And no, not just turkeys, holidays remind me of Roasted Turkey AND Roasted Maple Orange Glazed turkeys.

holiday feels!
Holiday feels!

Okay, my stomach hates me now.

But let’s just take a long and hard look at what holidays really mean. It’s a time to relax, and live life. Spend quality time and, in general, feel good.

You probably don’t need me reminding you, but holidays, especially Christmases, are highly commercialized. All those great looking electric appliances at steep discounts create the impulsive spending streak in you – and you end up buying it with your credit and have a hard time repaying it.

But hey, let’s do a little exercise, shall we?

Look at yourself in the mirror and ask – Do you really have to overspend in holidays?

The ugly truth about holiday debt

The national annual report by the accounting form PwC tells you a disturbing news – “With debt constantly rising, there’s probably only about 19% of us who are really concerned about it.”

This trend is openly visible during the holiday seasons – “The ability to carry on debt and still have confidence in the economy is becoming a more of a newer normal these days.”

Chango_Holiday overspending expert talk
Holiday overspending expert talk...

Another hard-hitting survey states that “68% of the respondents will overspend again for holiday shopping, despite knowing the negative consequences.

Pretty grim, eh?

So how do you remain debt-free this holiday season?

Given below are the 10 economic ways to save money and enjoy holiday season this year without breaking your bank:

1. Gifting skills, time

Gifting materialistic things have been long in trend with the economy. How about gifting immortal things?

Like time…or skills?

low-budget holiday idea 1
Low-budget holiday idea-1

Gift your time in the old-age homes, the orphanages and play around with those kids. Tell stories of your childhood and fun moments and make the old people feel young again.

Gift your skills and maybe volunteer in an NGO which can use your nursing skills in the remote areas. Or just go and collect the trash thrown on the beaches and mountains and do your bit to reduce carbon footprint.

2. Restrict the number of people in your nice list

This one is a no-brainer. If you want to save money in holidays/ for holidays, you need to reduce the number of people in your nice or naughty list. You don’t really have to give gift to some of your far fetched social media best friend whom you keep tagging in each and every meme or shitposting them around.

One exercise which I personally use when it comes to holiday season is this – I write a list. I ask only one question to myself: is this person worth gifting?

Is this person, whom I am supposed to gift, worth the money I am going to spend? Has this person done anything which is worth my time?

You need to ask yourself these hard-hitting and crude questions because in the end, money is something which you have to very careful about. These questions might cross out the gossiping co-workers, the cocky landlord and even that neighbor who’s cat poops just near your petunias. Just gift your closest family members and friends, and as a rule of thumb, the list shouldn’t exceed more than the number of fingers you got on your hands.

3. Give personalised gifts, instead of expensive ones

Let me tell you a cute little story.

A year ago, I graduated and moved to a new city for my first job. My darling pest of a sister, she snuck this cute blue thing in my suitcase!

Economic holiday gift idea
Economic holiday gift idea 1

You see, my sister loves crafts and origami and stuff like that. She enjoys doing them in her free time, and this blue thingy (I dunno what this is) was a constant source of mischief for me. You see, I used to whisk it away (AKA kidnap it) and run upstairs OBVIOUSLY letting her know I stole it. I wanted her to chase and yell after me around the house, so I purposefully stole it.

So she donated it to me. Whenever I miss her, I stare at this blue thingy (frankly, it looks like some sort of nose-broomstick thingy). It brings back fond memories.

Thoughtful holiday gifts which cost nothing!
Thoughtful holiday gifts cost nothing!

What did this blue thing cost? It’s not even like she did it just for me, crafting is her hobby. But it is a priceless and thoughtful gift, no matter how small or frivolous it may be.

4. Black Friday, Thanksgiving, Cyber Monday deals

You like to shop? Does this insta post sound so very much like you?

start saving money for holidays TODAY!
Start saving money for holidays TODAY!

That’s perfectly alright! There’s a perfect time during holidays to shop shop!  Black Friday DEALS!!, Cyber Monday yay!! The only monday you probably dont need any motivation to wake up, eh?

But the trick is to save money well before (like, start now?) and have a substantial budget you can happily spend, without looking at your bank.

5. Don't shop in stores

You know, despite shopping online is a huge deal now, 63% of Canadians still love the on-hands experience of brick-and-mortar shopping. Sure, it looks all shiny and pretty, and the added advantage is that you get to try them on, but did you know: Shopping in stores actually makes you spend more money. In short,

Overspending on holidays reason 1
The reason you overspend during holidays

Picture this: you are at the billing counter. You are just taking out your cash or card. And taking the precise moment for attacking you, the bill guy says : Do you wanna take a store credit and get 10% discount for all your purchases?


More on these sneaky money-wasters below!

6. Avoid the last few days of Christmas

I have friends who say, “Oh better deals are gonna come just 2 days before Christmas! I am waiting for those now..”

But you know what? When you are doing last minute shopping, there is often very less time for you to decide if you want it or not. This also does not allow them to compare the prices and reviews and coupons with other e-commerce stores.

coupons are the way to go for debt-free holidays!
Don't you like saving money using coupons?!

And you know what happens next: The friends end up spending more than they ought to have.

Avoid last-minute shopping, pals.

7. Speak up

Holidays are often a time for great mental stress because of peer-pressure. You simply have to gift your 10 step-cousins or your family ties will turn sour. But, what must you gift? You don’t even visit them much, to know what the kids like…

Many people don’t wanna ask others what they wish to have. Like, gifts are supposed to be surprises, right? And also, you don’t wanna sound cheap and that money-minded that you actually ask your family members what they want.

Let me remind you of the time my paternal uncle gifted me a glittery show-piece. “Oh it’s so pretty!! Thank you!”, you say.


lower your holiday spending idea 1
Speaking up can save the agony of being too polite...and money, ofcourse

But deep inside, I knew I loathed show-pieces. Too much clutter and you gotta make sure they don’t gather dust and look dusty and they take SPACE! Takes my time, tests my patience and makes me antsy? Check’em all!!

Imagine, if only he had just spoken up and asked me what I really wished to have.

I would have said,” Oh, Oh, I always wanted a great remote control car with sophisticated controls like that Stuart The Little boat bully!”

Gift people what they wish they had
And if it's expensive, start saving money from today itself!

Even if that car got broke after being used too much, I would treasure it and actually put it up as a show-piece and not mind the time, patience and space it demands.

8. Regift

Remember that Shiny gift my uncle gifted me? Yeah, the next year, I re-gifted that to my friend’s sister in her marriage.

Did I spend money? No.

Did I hate that showpiece? Yup.

regifting saves money in holiday season a lot!
Regifting saves money in holiday season a lot!

Did I declutter my home successfully? Yes.

That’s the way I roll. Here are 8 more ways to save money!

9. Avoid store credit cards

You know I have shown a distaste to shopping in brick-and-mortar stores previously,and I have two reasons for that. First reason: You cannot compare the prices and you also cannot run around the town to see what shop A is offering and what shop C is offering free.

Second reason: the shop credit cards. The money you’ll be saving today will be there tomorrow, or the next time you purchase something out of holiday season.

Store credit cards are a huge money waster!
Store credit cards are a huge money waster!

Stick to cash. Period.

10. Earn extra money to cover holiday expenses

The holidays are always a special time to earn extra money. You can find seasonal jobs during that time – like a bartender. Or a kitchen staff. The holidays re a busy commercial season, and you can add up the dollars and hours to buy your holiday shopping. 

cover expenses by doing part time jobs during holidays
Cover expenses by doing part time jobs during holidays

My personal favourite is to work as a sales assistant in shopping malls. It gives some kind of personal (sadistic) satisfaction to tell people how good them look in a particular color and literally see the overspending mistakes happening in front of me. It makes me think twice and thrice before I buy something,  and that, I am smugly proud about.


So tell me, what are your favourite tips to avoid overspending during holidays? Even if you overspend, do you always make sure to make up for the lost cash? 

I would love to know which other debt-free holidays tips do you use effectively! Just drop them in the comments below, and I’ll reply to EACH of them!

Happy saving!



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